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An Analysis of the Nature of Sharks

Posted on Fri Jan 7th, 2022 @ 5:58am by Captain Devin Hadenbeer & Commander Junix Qetzal

Mission: Into The Void
Location: Starfleet headquarters, Earth

Continuing education had its benefits when the subject matter was not encountered often in day to day operations of ship business. Junix, however, felt she had wasted the last five hours of her life reviewing scheduling procedures. She stood outside of the conference room door, rubbing her eyes, and refocused. Her next order of business would be to report in for duty on the Lionheart. As her eyes adjusted to the corridor's lighting, they also located an officer with Captain's pips.

The commander let her hands fall to her sides, tapping the messenger bag over her shoulder, ensuring her data device was with her. With a smile, she walked over to greet the captain, "Captain Hadenbeer, I was not expecting to meet you here."

FIVE MINUTES AGO...

Devin's internal clock told her that the person she was waiting for was running late, which was not good. One did not ambush an Admiral as they marched down a corridor without precision timing. Still, she had allowed a few minutes of wiggle room, so-

Her comm chirped, relived she tapped it, "This is Hadenbeer," a pause, then, "Captain Hadenbeer."

"Captain!" a cheery voice said, "Commander Dharma, Personnel. I just wanted to let you know Starfleet Academy cleared cadet Hadenbeer to be transferred to your ship."

Devin blinked as she stared at the wall. Her first instinct was to deny. Then she paused and ran through the possibilities. There was only one.

"Captain?" Dharma said into the silence, "Is everything-"

"Fine," Devin replied, winced at the sound of her voice, then added with far more moderation, "Thank you, that is much appreciated. Please convey my appreciation to the Academy for catering to my...sentimentality. And let them know I will not go easy on their student. I-"

"Captain Hadenbeer-"

Devin's head snapped around, she was staring at a humanoid female with blonde hair. She looked...familiar...

"I was not expecting to meet you here."

"Hadenbeer out," Devin said absently. She tapped her comm badge and tried to adopt an air of calm and composure. She regarded the stranger...No, wait. This was her new XO.

"Commander Qetzel, isn't it?" she replied, "Did I say that correctly? I apologize if I butchered your name."

Junix grinned, "No apology necessary; you did fine. I'm surprised you're not on the Lionheart."

"I was, but an attempt to secure the ship's Chief Medical Officer requires a more hands on ap-"

Devin's comm badge chirped, she touched it, "Hadenbeer."

"It's the other Hadenbeer," Dare replied, "Aunt Devin, did you-"

"I am not alone, cadet."

"...Captain, about these transfer orders. What-"

"We will discuss it face to face after you have reported for duty on the Lionheart, cadet Hadenbeer."

"...Understood Captain. Cadet Hadenbeer out."

Devin glanced at the Commander and grimaced, "My niece. She will be joining us. It will not be nearly as awkward as it sounds."

Did the Commander buy that? Devin did not think she sounded even remotely convincing...

"Well, it did sound awkward just then," Qetzal noted without passing further judgement. "So... you're looking for a medical officer? I didn't realize you could go shopping to pick one out. Can we find one who's not so surly? I get rashes around the surly ones."

"A captain has the ability to request whomever they like, within reason," Hadenbeer explained, "That does not mean you are going to get who you want. I find I gravitate towards younger officers, newly minted ensigns with their shiny new brass pips on their collars. Perhaps that is a holdover from my brief time at the Academy."

She shrugged, "This doctor is someone no one will want. I suppose you could call this the repayment of a debt. Provided Janeway approves, of course."

"I'm not sure I like the sounds of that," Junix said. "Are you sure you don't want to find a sweet, friendly old guy who knows knees from elbows?"

Hadenbeer snorted, "If it were up to me I would settle for the Emergency Medical Hologram; I can turn that off whenever I want. No, I was told in no uncertain terms the medical staff had to be comprised of flesh and blood sentients, and this one in particular has sent word he is now available for duty."

The captain took a moment and regarded Junix. After another moment she said, "So you want the executive officer position on Lionheart. You must know my first officers seldom last longer than a year. What is your motivation? Masochism?"

"Yeah," Junix nodded and smiled. "Masochism sounds about right." It definitely sounded better than she was under orders to take the assignment. Though for the purposes of any Betazoids wandering about, she had already convinced herself that she wanted this position and had, in fact, sought this assignment out on her own. "Being complacent is not good for my continued mental health. Your ship looks like it will keep me on my toes."

"It will at that," Hadenbeer replied with a nod. She paused, then continued, "There are ships that have senior staffs that have been together for years. The Stargazer, for example. Twenty years. The Enterprise D and E, that core staff remained largely unchanged for well over ten years. All that talent kept in one place when some of those officers should have been commanding ships of their own, or taking on assignments where they were passing on their experience to younger officers elsewhere."

She shook her head, "I find it inconceivable that somehow Jean Luc Picard kept all those people under this thumb during war time." a shrug, "Anyway, I push officers out the door, like a mother bird kicking her babies out of the nest once she thinks they can fly. That...does not make me popular with some..."

"Forming a surrogate family can be an asset, and keeping all that talent in one place can make for a very competent crew when a crisis emerges," the commander countered.

"Are you going to be one of those executive officers who is not going to agree with everything I say?" Hadenbeer inquired with a frown, "That might disturb the delusion of omniscience I have been cultivating these past several years."

The frown turned into a slight smile, "Your observation does have merit, I will grant you. And statistics do bear out the fact that a crew that has worked together for a certain length of time is more productive. For other captains, at least."

"So, why does the CMO require a hands-on approach? Are you actually kidnapping him, because that might be illegal," Junix asked while leaving the captain's question unanswered. There was a lot of debate within her own exchange that Junix opted to ignore it. "But I might be willing to cover for you if there's satisfactory compensation."

"I will bear the latter in mind," Hadenbeer replied. She hesitated, then said, "Doctor Klarth was my Chief Medical Officer years ago. There was a mission; a Federation vessel had fallen into the hands of Orion pirates," she held up a hand, "It is a long story. A plan was hatched to retake the vessel and we discovered there was a 'doomsday device' linked to the pirate captain's heart: if she died, the ship exploded, same would apply if she was beamed away against her will. And so Doctor Klarth thought he could use his medical knowledge of Orion physiology to frighten the captain into telling the away team how to disable the device. He stabbed the captain. The problem was, the captain was half Orion, half human, and her plumbing was a bit different. She almost died and the entire affair led to him being drummed out of Starfleet and the loss of his medical license. It has taken him three years but the license has been reinstated. Now I need to persuade Janeway to let him don the uniform again."

"Is there a way I can help?" Junix asked.

"Not unless you have a special relationship with Janeway," Hadenbeer replied with a smile one could define as 'enigmatic'. Then her eyes were drawn to something or someone further down the hall, "It seems the person I was waiting for has arrived."

The person in question was a Klingon warrior easily seven feet tall, clad in full armor with a sash slung across his shoulder that for those who were aware denoted messenger status. He was young and seemed to be masking nervousness with an air of arrogance as he strode purposefully down the hall.

"From Chancellor Martok himself," Hadenbeer murmured, "I will see you on board Lionheart, Commander," she gave the new XO a sideways glance and a smile and added, "And I think you will be around long enough that you will feel comfortable unpacking your more personal items."

Junix nodded, "Your confidence is appreciated." Once more, she checked her satchel before departing.

Devin watched the XO depart and frowned thoughtfully. Was there a reason why the woman had wanted the job? Was she being paranoid? She shook her head; she had other things to worry about. Turning, she waved to the Klingon...

 

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